Cathryn and Tom

When you meet at a wine farm and have a bottle of wine named after your relationship, the next logical step would be to get married on a wine farm… and that’s exactly what Cathryn and Tom did.

There is something so uniquely special about Tom and Cathryn’s wedding.
Even though they had to deal with postponements and ‘Rona blues, they were still able to pull off the most beautiful, intimate wedding.

From a vegetarian menu, flower grannies and a dress change to start the party – I loved every moment of looking through their wedding pictures and I am so excited to be sharing it with you today!

A glass of wine is compulsory when reading this article, so pour yourself a glass and let’s learn more about Tom, Cathryn and their beautiful wedding day.

Hey guys, please can you introduce yourselves to the Hooray readers…
Hey! We are Tom & Cathryn, we met after I finished my studies and went to work at Ernie Els Wines to spend some time in the world of wine. My parents were planning on opening a Tasting Room and needed help running it. When I walked in for my interview, Tom was there and he was my Manager. Tom tells me when he saw me for the first time he knew trouble was coming 😉 At first, we were friends, but always got along so well, and we both knew there was something underlying – and I thought he liked me as he always took such good care of my wellbeing, and usually gave me the big tables when I asked. We went out a few times with friends, and the one night we kissed at a bar in Stellies – needless to say, that night was the beginning of something really fantastic. We have been together since June 2018. 

Hooray: Tell us about your proposal
Cathryn: The proposal! What a dream. We were on holiday in Greece, as we had decided to take our first overseas holiday together. We were about halfway through the trip, and in Mykonos. Tom suggested we visit a really beautiful beach, Fyra Beach which is on the North end of the island. We drove there for about 40 minutes on this little quad bike, arrived drank wine and relaxed. Funny insert – there was a SUP and I wanted to go for a ride with Tom, but he said we would rather watch me (afterwards he told me he was too nervous and needed a moment to get himself together) and this Greek man started to flirt with me while I was getting ready to go – I quickly told him I was there with my boyfriend and pointed up to a very stern looking Tom! When I got back Tom asked me if I really really loved him and enjoyed being with him, at the time I thought it was so funny to hear him ask me all these questions. Then Tom suggested a walk, and to take a photo on our polaroid camera. He bought it for me for my birthday and we were taking one photo on every island. On the walk, there was this really cool looking rock to take the photo on. We were busy posing with a timer when Tom moved and I almost told him he was going to ruin the photo when I turned around and saw him on one knee with the most beautiful green garnet ring in his hand!! It was just awesome.  Hooray: Your pooch! So adorable, did he have a role to play in the wedding other than looking oh so cute?
Cathryn: Originally Tom wanted Sakkie, our boxer, to bring us our rings at the ceremony, however – we decided he was just going to hang out with the boys getting ready and be in some photos. He gets a tad over-excited with lots of people –that and a white dress was a bit too unpredictable for my mom and I!

Hooray: The Groom Crew looked so dapper! Did they hire or buy their suits?
Cathryn: Ah I agree! Tom bought his white blazer from Zara – literally like a week before the wedding (this really had me trying not to panic and to trust the process) and the boys hired their suits from ‘Suit Yourself’ in Durban North. Tom also got the boy’s bow ties custom made at Bell and Bravado in Hilton!

Hooray: How badly did COVID affect your wedding plans?
Cathryn: So it definitely made the process of planning much more challenging as we were so unsure about everything. We first had to move to cancel our original date – and it was a bit difficult not knowing when we would be able to have it or when was a right time to choose, and what our Plan C would be if we had to postpone. Things like sending out the new date were quite stressful as we felt maybe we were sending it out too early and things will change, but if we don’t send it now people can’t plan to come. So getting that right was pretty tricky.

Hooray: How did you deal with the emotions of postponements and uncertainty of what would be?
Cathryn: We actually handled it really well until the week of the would-be wedding. I just knew it was out of our control and we simply had to wait and see. I did however get quite sad the few days leading up to the original date because I kept thinking how much fun we should be having but instead, we were just stressed out about work. The night before we drank a couple of glasses of wine which helped! Then the day of – Tom, my Mom & a friend helped plan a really special car picnic – Tom and I just spent the day together by the Karkloof Falls which ended up being so wonderful. Tom even organized our good friend Sian Owen to do a surprise photoshoot!
**HSN: Tom deserves all the brownie points for this!

Hooray: ALL the little-ies! Did they play a role in your day? So many people don’t want children at weddings, how was it having all the cuties there?
Cathryn: How cute are they!? So I loved the idea of having all the babies to be part of the day as they are so young and it is special for them to be part of our wedding and have them play a role in those memories. The bridesmaids carried/walked them down the aisle instead of holding flowers. And my two Grannies were the Flower Girls that went at the beginning of the procession. They are all family, and some that were friends’ kiddies, they basically feel like family. I was excited for a bit of chaos and fun which kiddies always bring. And they were very chuffed to chat with the bride, which was so cute.

Hooray: How did you choose your photographer
Cathryn: I always wanted to have some of my wedding suppliers as friends or people we are friendly with – we both knew Coetzer through different means, and just absolutely loved his photos and his vibe.

Hooray: Be honest, how many hours did you spend on Pinterest?
Cathryn: Hahahaha – in the beginning ALOT, but as we had to postpone and reschedule and things were so unsure I actually stopped looking at wedding inspo all together. Shocking I know haha. 

Hooray: What role did your parents play in your wedding?
Cathryn: We are very lucky to have parents that wanted and could pay for our wedding. We work in a family business and had the wedding on our farm  – so it was very interesting to work, plan a wedding and have all the other dramas & joys in life happen while we were together every day. My parents were a bit more involved as we all live here close together, and Tom’s family live in Cape Town. But two weeks before the wedding they came to stay and we all had the most glorious time. Needless to say, it was a very interesting time, and never a dull moment!

Hooray: The biggest hurdle you faced planning your wedding?
Cathryn: I know so many people say not to be like this – but making sure everyone was happy and feeling included. As there were so many people involved I was so nervous to make someone feel out of the loop, or not important. So it wasn’t so much to hear everyone’s opinion on the décor, the food etc because I was quite flexible on that and our wedding planner was a dream and knew exactly what I wanted. But making sure feelings weren’t being hurt, was a big thing for me.  

A second thing was the stress of not having a religious wedding ceremony, our family & a few of our friends, are all religious and we aren’t. We aren’t very open about this, so I felt it was a bit of a ‘coming out’ in a subtle way, and I was really worried about how our family would react. We found Ryan who literally does this all the time, officiate weddings for people in a position like ours, and it went so smoothly. Still haven’t gotten much feedback from the family so I think that is a good thing?

Hooray: With your decision to not have a religious ceremony, were there any other traditions that you incorporated into your ceremony?
Cathryn: Yes! We actually still followed a lot of the normal traditions – we just left the religiousness out. We did the lighting of candles – where both Moms light a candle then Tom and I took those to light one candle – representing our families joining. We had poems read and even had all the guests bless us. Which was actually really cool.

Hooray: Tell us about your bridesmaids and groomsmen?
Cathryn: I think I could write essays on these people, but I will try to make it short. I had eight bridesmaids, and I think one of the ‘worst’ things one could say was a lot of people judged me on how many bridesmaids I had. But at the end of the day, I didn’t really mind as I knew that each woman I picked held a significant role in my life and was very close to my heart. I had friends from junior school, high school, varsity and Tom’s Sister – and they are all my absolute favourite people. Tom had four groomsmen (much more reasonable!) – his best man, Denneys, actually worked with us while at Ernie Els and was Tom’s wingman when we met! Two of his other groomsmen are actually married to two of my bridesmaids – the six of us are all really good friends, so that was pretty wholesome! 

The best times with them were on three occasions – the Bridal Shower/Bachelorette weekend was absolutely unforgettable. The ladies knew exactly what I wanted to do – and on the Sunday we met up with all the Boys at Oyster Box for a High Tea (there were literally 17 of us) – all I can say is the Bubbles got flowing and things got a bit wild. Then obviously the wedding! And lastly our post-wedding Friend Moon – we went to Mantis and Moon Backpackers and I honestly don’t think I have ever had that much fun. Side note; as we had to make our wedding smaller we decided to have a second ceremony with a couple of friends we couldn’t have at the first wedding. Those few weekends really set a high bar, and we will always remember those friends who joined, they are so so special. 

Another thing I really didn’t enjoy was having all my friends plan, chat and scheme without me knowing anything going on. I always tried to pry information out of them but to no avail. I really hate being out of the loop! I actually told them on several occasions I am keen for the wedding to be over so I can finally know everything going on! But they did so so many special things for me, so I am one lucky gal. 

Hooray: Okay, stop! Your dress change! What made you decide to do this?
Cathryn: Ahhh – the dress change! So this was not part of the plan at all! I was actually a little embarrassed to do the dress change because it felt over the top, but my Mom & friends convinced me otherwise!
I had gone shopping and found this really beautiful plain white glam dress, but I couldn’t lift my arms so I decided to carry on looking. Then we found Maryke, I told her some ideas and we got going with the second dress. It was so beautiful – but I think because we had so much time to think about it, at one stage I thought maybe this isn’t the right dress. My Mom told me to get in the car the one day and just browse, see where it takes us. We went to Jeanelle la amour and I found a plain glam dress that I had originally hoped to wear. Because we cut our costs so much with us doing the venue and drinks we could buy the second dress. I felt that both dresses showed each side of my personality which was really cool. The one more boho, unusual and dreamy while the other glam queen, plain and elegant.

Hooray: What was the one non-negotiable of your wedding
Cathryn: To only have vegetarian food served. We did compromise a bit for Tom and had biltong at the canapés! 

Hooray: Tell us more about why you only wanted vegetarian food?
Cathryn: I was a vegetarian for a while before I met Tom, but he pulled me to the dark side with tempting biltong. But, I don’t love eating meat especially from an ethical and environmental standpoint. So I have always leaned more toward being vegetarian. For example, we will never eat meat at home unless we are having a braai with friends! I wanted to show our guests that it was possible to have a fabulous time, enjoy the food and not miss the meat. It was really great when my one great aunt and uncle, who couldn’t believe I wasn’t serving meat, actually ended up loving the food! So basically to bring a little awareness that meat isn’t the be-all and end-all of the food. Which I think Chef in Thyme did the most incredible job!

Hooray: The best moment of your wedding day?
Cathryn: Our first dance! We had initially gone for dancing lessons (Dee from Dance Life Studios, she was very cool!) once a week for a couple of weeks, and were going to do the Viennese Waltz. When we postponed our wedding, we just couldn’t face driving so far and going through all the lessons again (partially because so much was going on and partially because we were nervous to postpone again) – we then practiced our first dance once when Tom’s family came and we were listening to all our wedding songs and getting excited, and once on our grass a random night like three days before. We danced to Calvin Harris – I feel so close; it was the most epic feeling dancing so well with Tom in front of everyone we love, and to such a fantastic song. We really did feel quite cool.

Hooray: The one thing you would change about your wedding if you could travel back in time
Cathryn: I think to be more prepared on how much attention would be on us (I know – how did I not realize this would be the case, haha) but being the centre of attention with so many people, so many people wanting photos and chats and so on actually became quite overwhelming for me! But when I did my dress change, and we went into the reception – that completely went away and I was very relaxed and started enjoying myself immensely. 

Hooray: Lastly, we have to know what wine was served… I will be disappointed if TomCat wine was not on the menu!
Cathryn: We 100% had loads of Tomcat going around! How could we not, right? 😉
Tomcat came along after Tom & I moved to the farm. My Dad was really impressed with Tom leaving all his friends and family to move to our farm to the unknown of our family business and how life would change. My Dad is also a romantic so loves a good story. We wanted to create more personalised wines that show a bit of who we are as a family and my Dad chose to put the name on a bottle! Our good friend Cazz took a photo from our engagement shoot and drew the label for us!

Cathryn and Tom, thank you so much for allowing us to share your magical day with our readers.

Wishing you many more years ahead filled with wine, love and travel adventures.
I hope you are still dancing on the grass together at 80 years old!

Photographer: Coetzer Photo
Venue: Highgate Wine Estate
Wedding Coordinator: Lynne Holding
Videographer: Dane Foreman
DJ: Mike Zuma
(he was a VIBE)
Flowers: Kerry’s Flowers + Decor
Catering: Chef ‘n Thyme
Saxophonist: Chris Jenson
Officiant: Ryan Hogarth
Stationery: Cazz Roberts
(We did as much stationery as we could digitally to try to reduce our waste)
MUAH: Nixon Makeup
Cake: Wedding Cakes by Roz Wilson
Groomsmen Suits: Suit Yourself
Dress 1: Jeanelle l’amour Bridal
Dress 2: Maryke Bespoke Bridal
Bridesmaids Outfits:
My aunt!
Tante Heidi sewed all the dresses for us. She is such a superstar as for the original wedding it was supposed to be in winter and we had completely different jumpsuits and material. Tante Heidi had already made one of those before we had to postpone. Funny side note – we used all of that material to make masks! Then bought summer material to make the jumpsuits. Tante Heidi really went above and beyond – we are so grateful for her!

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